World No Tobacco Day, celebrated each May 31, aims to continue raising awareness of the dangers that tobacco poses to health, with more than 7 million annual deaths worldwide. This year’s topic “Tobacco and Hearth Disease” focuses on the impact smoking has on cardiovascular health worldwide, a timely topic for an age where cardiovascular diseases are the primary cause of death globally.

Many know that smoking causes cancer, but this habit is also linked to stroke, coronary heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. Second-hand smoke kills almost 1 million people per year and contributes to 17 percent of all heart disease deaths.

In Mexico smoking kills 40,000 people a year, which translates to 110 people a day. While the country has taken several steps to curb smoking such as forbidding it in enclosed spaces and raising taxes on cigarette packs, the industry is only expected to continue growing. The tobacco industry represented MX$67 billion in 2016 and this number is expected to rise by 13 percent by 2021. The National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) reported that people begin smoking earlier, at 19.3 years of age in 2016, down from 20.4 years old in 2011. Furthermore, Mexicans are smoking more, with average daily consumption reaching 7.3 cigarettes from 5.6 during that same period.

Through initiatives across the globe, this years’ World No Tobacco Day aims to increase awareness of the dangers that tobacco use poses to cardiovascular health and encourage governments to take stronger action against this addiction. Some of the WHO’s suggestions include higher taxes on tobacco products, more support for those seeking to quit tobacco, bans on tobacco advertising and more mass marketing campaigns that educate the public.

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